Eugene Hoyme, M.D., and Amy Elliott, Ph.D. discuss new FASD Diagnostic standards. The two were part of a group of experts who developed clinical guidelines for diagnosing fetal alcohol spectrum disorders based on an analysis of more than 10,000 individuals involved in studies of prenatal alcohol exposure. The study was organized, endorsed and funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and appears online in Pediatrics.
Recent studies of school-age children suggest that the prevalence of FASD may be higher than previously thought, with 2 percent to 5 percent of the children in the US showing signs of prenatal alcohol exposure. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that no amount of alcohol intake during pregnancy is considered safe, and binge drinking poses a dose-related risk to the fetus.
The study indicates that diagnosis of FASD is best accomplished using a multidisciplinary approach. This requires a medical assessment of the child and an expert neuropsychological and behavioral assessment.